India Tour of England - A little bit of History, what to expect in this tour and (Lot of) Criticism
Before we get started let us look at some trivia – India’s first test official test match was at Lord’s in 1932. India was captained by Col. C.K Naydu. He was chosen as the Wisden Cricketer of the year in 1933. The last tour of England in 2007 was unforgettable for Indian cricket. We won the Pataudi trophy, which was made to celebrate Indian cricket’s 75th anniversary. India had no coach, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan were left out of the squad for poor performance. The series saw Kumble scoring a ton, Zaheer Khan spearheading a test victory and Rahul Dravid captaining the side. Tendulkar did not score a ton, Kumble did not have a 5 wicket hall and Dinesh Karthik was India’s highest run scorer in the series – somewhat rare sights. But the end story was a 1-0 victory to India.
Now we are back at Lord’s – the home of cricket, where it all began. But this time the equation is very even. Team India is ranked No 1 and coming back from a dull round of cricket back at West Indies. Yes, I am being pretty harsh here but the West Indies tour for Indian cricket did not do much good. So coming back to the point, the only positive on batting front we have from the tour is Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman are in form. It is on the bowling front that we have had some real developments. Ishanth Sharma looks to be his menacing best and Praveen Kumar has made a welcome start in the test arena. With Zak back in the team, we could have a problem of plenty in the fast bowling department. England tour also marks the return of Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh and Gautam Gambhir.
Virender Sehwag is also a guy who is on the comeback but at the moment it seems he will miss the first test. Just as Shane Warne playfully targeted Kevin Pieterson as his 600 wicket and we had hoardings of KP 600 around the ground now we will be seeing SRT 100 at Lord’s – SRT’s 100th international century.Slightly digressing from the topic, I believe we humans get bored of repeating same things over and over again. Doesn’t SRT get bored of scoring tons after tons? Don’t we as spectators get bored of SRT looking up at the sky in the middle of the pitch game after game? How about for a change Yuvraj Singh scores a ton and saves his career? Enough of this poor joke I guess.Would love seeing him raise his bat more often
So moving over to the easiest part – “criticism”. One factor I am really unhappy about is the preparation for such a tour. The gap between the last game of the Windies tour and 1st test at lords is a mere 12 days. Not ideal at all for such an important tour. The next criticism I am going to dig out is related to this – lack of enough practice matches. Playing in England is an entirely different ball game when compared to what Indians are used to. A single practice game is close to almost zilch preparation. You may argue that a game is substantial, but consider this – if you get out cheaply in both innings without facing many deliveries you do more to hurt your confidence. Australia, when they come down actually schedule atleast 2 practice matches. This gives ample time for preparation. India has been repeating this over years. It is high time they give more time for acclimatising.
When you play a team ranked 3(a single point below South Africa) you know you are in for some awesome cricket. England has a deep batting order and a balanced bowling attack. Alistair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Ian bell have been batting like champions and you have a perfect new ball combination of the swinging James Anderson and a 6’7” giant Chris Tremlett, backed by the crafty off spinner – Greame Swann. And when you are at their backyard you know who has the upper hand.
This being surely the last tour for some of the Indian players, we can expect to see a spirited display from the side. England better wait n watch. It is going to be a grand beginning to the English summer on 21st July.